The long-debated WANE Bill (Wildlife and Natural Environment [Scotland] Bill) was finally passed by the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday 2nd March 2011. Talk about a missed opportunity to crack down on an industry that continues to flout the law when it comes to wildlife crime! “The Scottish Government is not prepared to tolerate continued persecution of our magnificent birds of prey. This government is prepared to act to introduce new measures to combat wildlife crime”, said a pig as it flew over Inverness Police Station.
A concise overview of how the final Bill relates to the continuing illegal persecution of our so-called protected raptors can be found here:
While some aspects of the new Bill are to be welcomed, including the introduction of vicarious liability, other measures that could have had a greater impact were refused. One such measure, estate licensing, was turned down in favour of allowing the sporting estates an opportunity to introduce voluntary self-regulation. This manifests itself in the form of the ‘Wildlife Estates Initiative’, dreamt up by the SRPBA in the later stages of the WANE Bill proceedings when it looked like they were under threat from the introduction of a licensing system. Who believes that this ‘initiative’ will work? Isn’t it crystal clear, after five decades of systematic raptor persecution, that the shooting industry has proven itself incapable of voluntary self-regulation? Will the new ‘initiative’ be as lacking in credibility as their May 2010 letter to the Environment Minister that 200+ estate owners signed to say that they opposed raptor poisoning? (The same letter that proved to be highly embarrassing just a few weeks later when multiple poisoned raptors were found on Moy Estate, one of the letter’s signatories). We look forward to watching how their latest ‘initiative’ rolls out, and particularly whether they actually publicise the names of the estates that have signed up to it (information that they have so far failed to make public). If they wish to be taken seriously then transparency will be essential.
In summary, there is as much chance of the current WANE Bill being an effective deterrent to illegal raptor persecution as there is of the SGA opening a wildlife sanctuary. However, full credit should go to Peter Peacock MSP for doing his utmost to secure a safe future for our declining raptor populations. He will be sorely missed when he steps down from politics in May, although we are pleased to note that he intends to lobby his colleagues from the sidelines. RSPB Scotland and the SRSGs also deserve credit for their lobbying efforts throughout the WANE Bill process. Some credit should be given to Roseanna Cunningham for sticking to her guns on the vicarious liability issue, although she loses points for stamping all over some of the other proposals that really could have made a difference.
As we approach the Scottish elections in May, you may want to know how your MSP voted on the raptor persecution issue during the WANE Bill. Check out the official report here:
2 thoughts on “Wishy Washy WANE Bill”
Agree with all that…especially a pat on the back for those who appear to understand the real situation..and arent going along with some Brigadoon view of scottish shooting estates [aka the raptor killing fields]..
It shouldnt come as a great surprise that its well watered down though….in the light of the last great missed opportunity…the Thematic Review on wildlife crime…which missed the bleeding obvious poiint that most wildlife prosecutions only came about because of the involvement, tenacity and expertise of the RSPB and SSPCA…but of course that particular large truth didnt suit the politics of the Police and Crown Office [control freaks all…and glory hunters, in an area solely highlighted by RSPB/SSPCA]or of the politicians desperate to get a quick fix “partenership” under their name without rocking any establishment boats.
Same old, same old..
What is essential however is to put pressure on these awful alliances by continuing to publicise every illegally killed predator, every failed court case, every pathetically weak court decision and every sycophantic politician.
It’s about what I expected from our wishy washy politicians, a wishy washy WANE bill that pretends to hear what people have been saying about getting tough with the Raptor murderers, whilst at the same time bowing to their influential masters by leaving loopholes in the bill you could drive a bus through. THANK’S A LOT SCOTTISH MINISTERS, I suppose we could let you know what we really think in May !!!